Three Italian sites have been added this week into UNESCO’s prestigious list of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, described as "places for learning about sustainable development aiming to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity with the sustainable use of natural resources".
The three sites are the Po Delta reserve, the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano reserve, both in the region of Emilia-Romagna, and the Ledro Alps and Judicaria reserve, in the northern region of Trentino.
As described by UNESCO, the Po Delta site, a plain produced by the Po River’s action and recent human activity, and the only delta in Italy, covers an area of 139,398 hectares. The site includes the confluence of river branches, coastal dune systems and sand formations, lagoons, fishing ponds, marshes, fossil dunes, canals and coastal pine forests, vast brackish wetlands and cultivated lands dominated by rice farming, providing an exceptional heritage of biodiversity. Tourism, agriculture and fish farming are the main economic activities of the local communities.
The Appennino Tosco-Emiliano, located at the border between Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany, covers the Apennine ridge from Passo della Cisa to Passo delle Forbici, for a total of 223,229 hectares. The reserve contains 70% of all the species present in Italy, including species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish, the wolf and the Golden Eagle, as well as great plant biodiversity, with at least 260 aquatic and terrestrial species. Besides agriculture, tourism, with particular attention to promoting local products, is the main activity here.
The Ledro Alps and Judicaria biosphere reserve is located between the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Lake Garda, on an area of 47,427 hectares. The site is representative of the southern slopes of the central-eastern Alps, comprising different non-polluted habitats, Alpine meadows, forest, grasslands, moorlands, as well as traditional crops. Agriculture is the main economic activity here, mainly viticulture, olive, fruit and vegetable, and animal husbandry, along with tourism.
We hope this recent recognition will inspire you to go visit these destinations!